The Art of The Brazilian 4-2-2-2 Box – Part Two

This is the second part of the current series and will see me focus on the second competitive match that I played. If you didn’t read part one then you can catch up with it here;

http://sisportscentre.com/the-art-of-the-brazilian-4-2-2-2-box-design-tweak-and-maintain-part-one/

In the first lot of analysis I did, it seemed focus on the two defensive midfielders and the two box to box players. They didn’t seem to link together or do what I wanted during the defensive phases of play. Going forward it looked good though but the midfield was a concern. So I’ll be having a brief look to see if I can spot the same issues as the previous game. But I’ll be mainly looking at identifying different issues rather than focusing on stuff that I already know from the first game. So let’s jump straight in.

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From a statistical view we did okay again and were the better side.

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I didn’t make subs during this game as I have a few injuries at the minute and have another game to play in three days times, so wanted to keep players fresh for that game. So that’s one of the reasons some players condition got low as I would normally use substitutions. From the above stats though, we can still see that the goalkeepers distribution is an issue same as the last game. Which is understandable as we’ve not made any changes yet. So I’ll make a little note of that again as it’s a regular occurrence and not a one-off now it’s happened again.

Another thing we can see is Caju who plays as the left-sided wingback failed with sixteen passes. That might not seen that problematic but considering he is one of two players responsible for giving me width, I need to find out in what areas he was misplacing the passes and more importantly, finding out why. If I don’t identify those reasons then I can’t change anything as I’d just be ‘guessing’ and making changes that might not be the right choice to make. So always ensure you have insight into why something happens. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to fix the issue, the important part is first identifying issues, fixing them comes later.

The complete wingback (Daniel Guedes) seem’s to have attempted fifteen crosses yet only completed three of them. This again is cause for concern initially until I can see why he failed with so many.

One more thing that sticks out is Ricardo Oliveira who played as the deep-lying forward. He has had six shots yet only had two on target. This is something that needs to be explored further, especially as my opposition was a side who I expect will have sat deep and by the look of things, offered very little going forward. This might (and I stress might because we still don’t know for sure) show a weakness in my shape with the roles I currently use and it might not break teams down who sit deep. If this is the case then it needs fixing.

Already just from the individual stats above we can see how my analysis of the next match is going go to. I’ve got a couple of things I need to look into and explore in a lot more details, so this is a great starting point.

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Seconds into the game and I can already see issues with the midfield again. This time though it shows a distinct lack of bodies in the central areas, which might surprise people considering it’s a narrow formation I’ve used. I think I know why this is happening though. Up until now I’ve not mentioned if I was using any team instructions or not. In actual fact I am, I’m using three and one of those is the roam from position one. I’ll more than likely touch upon the other two at another time. But I believe the roaming isn’t helping in situations like this as the two box to box midfielders aren’t in areas where they can support the strikers. So that not only means the strikers get isolated it means I can’t dominate the central areas. What I need to consider doing is for the fourth game, maybe disabling the roam from position team instruction and see if that makes a difference. It should have some impact but it’s hard to say how big or small the impact will be without actually seeing it in action. But this is the first real note I make in this match.

  1. Midfield wandering about far too much and causing a lack of link between midfield and attack.

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The above screenshot shows how much better I look when the box to box midfielders are in more central areas. I still don’t think the defensive midfielder and regista combo are doing what I want though, they offer very little at the minute. However the box to box players have options here. Alison is the player on the ball and he has the false nine dropping deep to link with him. When this happens we have all kinds of different options and can really stretch the opposition as you can see below.

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When the false nine plays the ball out wide to the complete wingback then we immediately put the opposition into the back foot. These type of things create space and movement and make it hard for the opposition to know who to pick up. I’d rather have late runners than players already high up the pitch, it’s much easier to work with.

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You can see what I’m talking about here. The late runners are all unmarked and the deep-lying forward is the decoy keeping the defence busy. If the complete wingback can put a good delivery into the box then all kinds of chaos can happen. Unfortunately he doesn’t put a good ball in and takes one touch too many and loses possession. However if you have players getting into these kind of areas when supporting play, sooner or later the goals will come.
I’m only a few minutes into the game, think around seven minutes in total but I’ve seen the above scenario happen three times already and on those occasions the cross was made and we had chances to score. It’s clear the opposition isn’t really offering much at all in this game and are more than happy to just sit back and soak up the pressure. So I don’t think I’ll learn much from this analysis in terms of how we defend and work when we don’t have the ball. That’s quite disappointing because that’s the trouble I’m having the most concerns with for now but there’s nothing I can really do about that, in this game. What we will do instead is concentrate on the things I mentioned at the very start of this piece.

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Those are the passing stats for my left-sided wingback Caju. As you can see he is very wide, hugging the touch-line almost. However it’s not the received or completed passes I am interested in, it’s the intercepted ones that I need to focus on.

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You’ll notice that almost all eleven of the intercepted passes are all quite long-range passes. That could be quite telling in it’s own way and showing that he is struggling and hitting it long at times. There could be many reasons for this, it could be a case of a lack of options for him to pass the ball to. Or it could be down to him being put under pressure and being forced into making a quick decision and during this time, he is panicking and just hitting it hopelessly. To know for certain though we need to click on all of these dots on the pitch and view the clips back.

On the stats alone, like I mentioned above it looks like he struggled at times. However viewing the clips back, which took less than a minute to do for them all combined adds the necessary context to them. What this shows me is it’s isn’t a concern at all. Five of the intercepted passes were clearances from deep defensive positions and he looked to clear the defensive lines. This isn’t a bad thing and is what I’d expect, just to take the pressure off us for a few seconds. Another four of the intercepted passes are actually him taking free kicks that didn’t find their target. So again, it’s not a real concern but highlights I might need to work on my free kick routines in the very near future. But that’s an issue for another day. That’s leaves just two which are mistimed passes and after watching what the player was attempting to do, it was the correct decision and both would have been defence splitting passes. So I don’t mind too much as I want players to take risks if they think it’s the right choice at the time. All in all, I’m happy with what I’ve seen and my first suspicions about it being an issue are incorrect. This is why I always bang n about the stats needing context to them.

Next up I’ll look at the complete wingback crossing issue.

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Those are his crossing stats for this game. It’s very poor to say the least. Like the examples above for Caju though, I now need to determine why. Although I have a good idea of why already and surprised no-one picked up on it during the first article. A complete wingback provides crosses into the box, but why is this an issue due to the way I’m set up? Remember that I use two strikers who drop deep and don’t really play in the box. So this is expected as I will need to tone it down somehow but first, we need to confirm if this is true or not and the only way to achieve this, is to look at the clips.

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These are the clips we will be focusing on and seeing what the issue is. The first two I look at are obvious and are corners that were cleared. Viewing the rest of the clips I can see that he is getting his crosses off into the box at the near post for the deep-lying forward to get on the end of them. However that isn’t happening due to the deep-lying forward normally being marked by at least two defenders. Now this presents an issue as I need attacking wingbacks who are very offensive, yet I can’t instruct him to cross less. I’m not sure I want him to cross less though because if the strikers start getting on the end of these crosses, I will score a lot of goals. If the crosses were poor and not causing any danger, then I’d be left with no choice but to tone the role down to a less aggressive one. But because they are dangerous I’m left with one real options.

If I instruct the complete wingback to cross to a specific area then that might just solve the issue. What I’m thinking here is asking him to aim crosses into central areas as this is where my players are running to from the deep areas already. It could prove deadly in the long-term if I can make use of these dangerous crosses. So this is the second note I make from this match so far and is definitely something I need to change without question. It could prove a useful tool against the stubborn sides who sit deep and defend with numbers. Being more accurate with crosses could see me breaking them down easier. I have the movement aspect of the tactic already, I just need players to utilise these runs from deep now and this could just work.

The last thing I need to check now is the deep-lying forward.

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It might seem like I’m being picky here because the two chances he did have on target resulted in goals, even though one was a penalty. But I think one player having six shots is a lot, especially when you consider I only had eleven shots during the entire game.

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These are the four chances I’m going to look at. The first one I looked at was the blocked one outside of the area and on further inspections it doesn’t seem a worry at all because it was a free kick that hit the wall.

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That was the second one, it was a ball cut back to him inside the area that he strikes first time. Unfortunately for me though it’s blocked but the move itself, was well worked. The third clip that I watched was the missed target one from outside the box. This one, he got between the defenders and saw an opportunity to shoot as he was free. So he took the shot the first time but it went wide. And finally the last chance is a header that goes wide. I’d still like him to be more clinical if he’s going to have this amount of shots but from his positioning in these moves, he is getting into some great positions and over the season, if this continues, he will score a lot of goals.

This analysis shed a bit of light on how my tactic is currently working but it didn’t offer anything of significant value not really. But I did get a glimpse into how we attack and can improve on a few things. I guess I did learn two big things though so it wasn’t all bad. Those two things were;

  1. The complete wingbacks crossing aim needs altering.
  2. Midfield wandering about far too much and causing a lack of link between midfield and attack.

If I can work on these two aspects for the fourth game I play, then things should improve drastically I’d imagine. However the next game is important now in terms of analysis. In the first game I analysed, it was against a high reputation side who are rated highly like myself. The game I have done in this second one was against a really poor side and the next game, is against someone who is a middle of the road side. Which means (hopefully) we will learn some useful stuff and then I can look at making changes for future games.
I’ll hopefully have the last analysis done in a few days time.

8 thoughts on “The Art of The Brazilian 4-2-2-2 Box – Part Two”

  1. Cleon, nice article again, but one question: you’ve not mentioned whether these 3 games you take to evaluate everything are friendlies or competitive? I presume these are the first few friendlies as these are the first matches everyone plays in any season, but are friendly matches good enough to identify tactical issues as they can mask things with the opposition not being totally serious?

    1. I state in the very first article that all three are the first three competitive games I play. You can’t really tell much from friendlies because players aren’t fit, tactic familiarity isn’t all fluid yet and competitive games are handled differently, so players try harder in them.

  2. very interesting as usual, and personally I love the brazilian 4-2-2-2!

    about the ‘roaming’ TI, iirc the BBM’s have the ‘roam from position’ PI by default so you might be forced to change their roles as well to avoid that?

    also, I know you aren’t dealing with specific roles yet but hope to see a more typical ‘Brazilian Poacher’ role at some point for one of the strikers, a la Romario, Tulio or Vagner Love, you know those lazy yet lethal goal hunters 🙂

    alrready waiting for next part!

  3. I am a big fan of your work in general. I while back I did a thread on Dunga’s Brazil which was the shape you had used in your first Santos Experience series – I think I read the same Zonal Marking article you shared on the Tactical Choices post. So sorry you lost that save!

    Keep up the great work! This is really helpful stuff. I think the biggest key to learning how things work is to try them and methodically review the “game film” just like a real coach would. I find your methods to be therefore not only effective, but help me feel like I’m more in the role of a football manager, sort of like a roleplaying game rather than just a sports sim.

    Your insight in what to look for really helps me target what matters. I think a lot of players, and definitely myself, have trouble distinguishing the signal from the noise, if you are familiar with that expression. Your vast experience makes what matters “obvious” to you, and it’s becoming clear to me I can read how you do it but really it’s about taking the time to be meticulous and learn by doing.

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